I love the internet in so many ways. The internet allows me to connect with people across the world through my blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. It allows me to join communities that I wouldn’t ever be able to access without it.
I’ve recently taken a dive back into online gaming. I’ve played games online since I was about 15 and always been very aware that there are some arse wipes in the online community. So when I hit 17 or so, I stopped playing competitive games online. I played single player games and co-operative games where there was a lot less random abuse being thrown around.
At 25 I finally dove back into the competitive online gaming scene through Overwatch. It’s a brilliantly addictive game and I’m beginning to think that I’ve become obsessed with it. It features a diverse cast of characters from around the world and most of the voice actors are native speakers of the languages that the characters speak. When I’m not playing the game, I watch streams online of other people playing, I watch videos on YouTube of people playing the game and then try to emulate what they’re doing whenever I play (I’m notoriously bad at video games so I need all the help I can get).
One thing I was completely not prepared for was how horrible and disgusting people can be and how seriously people take something that’s supposed to be for fun. I’m not talking about the pros, of course. If that’s their job, by all means take it seriously.
If you’re just playing for fun, you get a whole heap of abuse and anger thrown your way. Even when you’re not playing in the games hyper serious “Competitive” mode. Some of the insults are pretty nasty. Some are a little less intense, the “you suck” and “you’re really bad at this game” are not constructive but also not particularly offensive. The others though, fuck me…
I was playing a game recently on a map called Lijiang Tower which is based in China and within seconds, people start making racist comments about the Chinese, the culture, their “slitty eyes”, the classic “HERRO” and lots more. Of course, I called them out and mentioned that I’m Chinese and they’re being pretty shitty. Their response was “do you eat dogs though?”. My response was obviously a “no” to which they responded “well then you’re not a real chink are you?”. In 2017…
This is the tip of the iceberg too. God forbid you’re a woman and you play the game. The number of rape comments, “why aren’t you making me a sandwich” comments, and “fake female gamer” comments is unreal but ultimately extremely common. First of all, and most simply, how can someone be a fake gamer? If they’re playing the game they’re a fucking gamer. Why do so many men think that playing video games is/should be a solely male past time. Secondly every time I stand up for someone mid game, you can be sure that I get abuse too but mine is nothing compared to the women I speak up for. Even when they’re insulting me, it’s still directed very much at the women. Thirdly, you know the insults will fly thick and fast if the women are just better at the game. Holy crap, some of the men who play this game have such fragile egos that losing to a woman at a video game results in them hurling abuse at them. Finally, NOTHING, anyone does warrants threats of rape or murder. Stop it you disgusting pieces of human shaped shit.
Sadly, this isn’t something exclusive to the realms of online gaming. It’s the whole internet. Reddit is a pretty horrendous place sometimes. Again, I use it to read creepy stories, discuss PC parts, learn how to play the Pokémon card game and learn about science, technology and the world. But some of the most offensive, horrific memes are posted there too.
The internet is a powerful tool for good if used in the right way. It’s also a place where cowards, racists, sexists and straight up stains on society can hide behind a veil of anonymity and speak their horrific, twisted views. The internet makes people brave which isn’t always a good thing.
But the main thing is, I’m sorry to all POC and women who have to put up with this kind of shit. I’ll always do my best to speak up and help. I hope that other people who read this will do the same. And to all you racist, sexist, xenophobic pieces of shit who abuse people in video games and online, just shut your mouth. You’re ruining a great thing for everyone and you’re making yourself look like an absolute fool.
Note: All this aside, I also often come across really lovely people. I started chatting to someone on the opposite team who was playing the same character as me and me and the opposite team just hit it off and were having a little fun while playing the game by skating around on walls etc with Lucio. One person on my team got very very angry though and started hurling abuse at me at which point, the other team pointed out I was the only one doing anything of use on my team and to calm down as it’s only a game. I still game with them today.